HomeFWJ TakeawayResourcesAppealing arbitral awards

If an award has been made in arbitration proceedings that you are unhappy with, Francis Wilks & Jones will be able to advise you as to whether there are any potential grounds for appeal challenge.

It is important to note that any appeal or challenge does not ‘stay’ or ‘stop’ enforcement of the award and so, it is vital that you act quickly to obtain advice as soon as the award is made. Our brilliant arbitration team at FWJ can provide fast effective advice.

The court’s approach to appealing arbitration awards

As a general rule, due to international commercial principles, the English courts are reluctant to interfere with arbitration awards.  

  • this is in keeping with the idea that international commercial arbitration should be a “one stop shop”, with parties generally preferring finality over the ‘correctness’ of an award in resolving their disputes.  
  • bearing this in mind, there is a high threshold that you will need to overcome in order to challenge or set aside an award made against you.

The three main grounds of challenge under the Arbitration Act 1996.

  • Section 67 Challenge on the grounds that the arbitral tribunal lacked substantive jurisdiction;
  • Section 68 Challenge on the grounds that the award contains a serious irregularity; and / or
  • Section 69 Appeal on a point of law.

Of all the above, only section 69 is not a mandatory provision. This means that the parties can opt out of it by agreement, either before or after the arbitration proceedings begin. Section 69 is otherwise a very difficult avenue for challenge. In 2019, there were no successful applications (out of 39).

Section 68 challenges are more successful, although arguably, only marginally so, and some of the common grounds used for challenge under Section 68 include:

  • Failure by the tribunal to deal with all the issues that were put to it;
  • Uncertainty or ambiguity as to the effect of the award; and / or
  • Failure by the tribunal to comply with section 33 (the general duty for the tribunal to act fairly and impartially, and to give each party a reasonable opportunity to put its case and to deal with its opponent’s case).

If you have an arbitral award that you wish to challenge or appeal, please get in contact with us.  Francis Wilks & Jones will review the award and consider whether a challenge or an appeal can be brought to set it aside.  

Contact us in confidence